For whatever reason, Republicans seem to have it out for Pete Buttigieg, the first out gay cabinet secretary in U.S. history.

Hmmm… can anybody figure out why?!

The latest non-issue they’ve blown up revolves around comments Buttigieg made Monday in an interview with MSNBC’s Jen Psaki, Biden’s first White House press secretary. When asked about crime rates in Washington D.C., Buttigieg said the nation’s capital is safer now than when he arrived in January 2021.

To help prove his point, he mentioned an anecdote about being able to safely walk his dog to work.

“There’s a lot of funding, and a lot of energy, going into telling a different story, especially on ideological news outlets and online,” he said. “But the simple facts and the simple reality are staring us in the face, including the fact that I can safely walk my dog to the Capitol today, in a way you couldn’t do when we all got here.”

Admittedly, that’s not the best answer, especially considering Buttigieg is flanked by his own secretary detail. But in the world of political interviews, his response to Psaki’s question about safety is hardly a gaff.

That’s because the facts are on the transportation secretary’s side. Violent crime in D.C. is falling year-over-year. As of last month, there’s been a 36% drop in homicides, as well as nearly 100 less assaults with a dangerous weapon.

But viewers who tune into Fox News, or other right-wing outlets, don’t see those numbers. When talking about crime in D.C., they still use data from 2023.

Also, as a federal cabinet official, Buttigieg has no jurisdiction over D.C.’s laws. Blaming him for the city’s crime rate is akin to blaming him for Baltimore’s Key Bridge collapsing after it was hit by a giant cargo ship.

Oh wait, they did that too!

As one of the Biden Administration’s most effective communicators, Buttigieg often appears on Fox to debunk ludicrous right-wing narratives. He defends himself with aplomb, such as when he calls out the double-standard applied to him and his husband, Chasten.

One of Buttigieg’s most notable exchanges came last year, when he pushed back against criticism over Chasten accompanying him when he led the U.S. delegation to the Invictus Games.

“Before me, it was the Secretary of the Army under President Trump who took that trip with his wife,” he said. “Before that, it was Mrs. Trump, as First Lady, who went to the Invictus Games. Before that, Mrs. Obama did the same thing. And I guess the question on my mind is, if no one’s raising questions about why Secretary Esper and his wife led that delegation, as they should have, then why is it any different when it’s me and my husband?”

Bret Baier, the anchor who was grilling Buttigieg, was left speechless.

While Republicans try to gin up fake scandals, Buttigieg continues to try and make travel more equitable. He’s championed an array of changes that make air travel more palatable for disabled people, such as making airplane bathrooms more accessible and widening airplane aisles to better accommodate wheelchairs.

Under Buttigieg’s watch, transportation hubs across the country have made changes to increase their compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

One of the key advisors pushing Buttigieg is Emily Voorde, who first met him when he was running for mayor of South Bend, Indiana. Born with a genetic condition that makes bones brittle, Voorde, who uses a wheelchair, worked for him in the White House.

“I had the chance to brief the policy team as well as Pete himself on best practice in talking about and engaging with disability, which was really powerful. If you have a candidate or elected official who won’t even say the word ‘disability,’ that conversation isn’t going anywhere,” she told 19.

“I gave Pete and the policy team permission to talk about and with people with disabilities, to talk about accommodation. I helped give them the tools to engage authentically.”

Buttigieg, for his part, credits Voorde for pushing him.

“I’ve always recognized the importance of disability work in policy, but there’s no way that I would have the same understanding of it,” he said. “I would like to think that I’d pay just as much attention to it no matter what. But there’s no question that my understanding of it was shaped by Emily’s experience and her expertise.”

Despite promising a $1 billion investment in infrastructure, Trump failed to push legislation through Congress. Biden, meanwhile, signed a bipartisan $1 trillion infrastructure bill into law during his first year in office.

Since then, Buttigieg has helped steer that funding to projects across the country.

Those paying attention recognize his role.

As far as we’re concerned, Buttigieg deserves all of the hearts, both for his accomplishments, and successfully pushing back against homophobes on the right.

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